For the second straight tournament, Italy punched its ticket to the UEFA Nations League Finals. A masterclass of a performance in goal from Gianluigi Donnarumma held off the hosts as Italy did enough on the other end, 2-0.
Statistically speaking, Hungary outplayed Italy, just as it did to Germany and England in its previous two contests. Hungary collected over half the possession in the game and fired 13 shots at Donnarumma’s goal. Six of those actually forced a save out of the PSG shot stopper, but he was equal to all of them. That included a set of saves in quick succession as Hungary looked for an equalizer.
At the other end of the field, Giacomo Raspadori scored his second-consecutive game-winning goal in the UEFA Nations League with the opener. He also scored the only goal of the game against England in matchday five. To add insurance, Inter’s Federico Dimarco put home Italy’s second to clinch its spot in the UEFA Nations League Finals.
Italy in the UEFA Nations League Finals
The Italians join the Netherlands and Croatia as the teams to qualify for the second stage of the UEFA Nations League this season. This is a familiar spot for Italy, having won third place in the 2021 Nations League Finals.
Italy joins Croatia and the Netherlands as the first 𝟑 teams to clinch a spot in the UEFA Nations League Finals! 🇮🇹
Who will be the next to advance? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/hcRq2xXOcf
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) September 26, 2022
The Netherlands is also a team that made it this far in the past. The Dutch lost to Portugal in the inaugural Nations League Finals back in 2019. However, this chance at redemption comes at home, likely in Amsterdam. Yet, official confirmation over the hosting duties are to be determined.
Italy hosted last year, and comes off a triumph at Euro 2020 looking for more hardware out of Europe, regardless of World Cup qualifying struggles.
Consolation for Hungary
While Italy celebrates its bid into the UEFA Nations League Finals, it is heartbreak for Hungary. The Hungarians entered a group with three teams in the top 11 of the FIFA World Rankings in June 2022. Two of those teams just played each other in the Euro 2020 Finals in the summer before.
Despite that, Hungary picked up two wins against England, as well as a win and a draw against Germany. The only thing to do the Hungarians in was Italy, which dealt two key blows.
Italy begins its quest in the UEFA Nations League Finals in the summer of 2023.
PHOTO: IMAGO / LaPresse
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